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Three killed as truck rams into tea stall

Malda, Sept. 18: Three persons were killed when a truck trying to negotiate potholes on an NH 34 stretch rammed into a tea stall in Malda yesterday.

The dead have been identified as Saddam Sheikh, 36, Ibrahim Sheikh, 27, and Imran Ali, 21. The driver and the cleaner fled.

Mukuleswar Rehman, a school teacher who lives near Baliadanga More where the accident took place, said the NHAI had not repaired the stretch after land acquisition problems stalled the four-laning of the highway last month.

“The road has been narrowed with a large number of stalls coming up on the sides. Last week, one person was killed in a similar accident. We had requested the block administration to take up the matter with the NHAI but to no avail,” he said.

The police and the bus owners’ association echoed Rehman.

“The 70km stretch from Farakka to Gajole is riddled with potholes. The truck rammed into the tea stall after the driver lost control trying to steer away his vehicle from a crater. We have seized the truck but the driver and the cleaner have fled. We have been writing to the NHAI for immediate repairs but they are yet to reply,” said Malda police superintendent Jayanta Pal.

The president of the Malda Chamber of Commerce, Jayanta Kundu, said truck drivers were refusing to ply their vehicles on the stretch and that created logistical problems. NHAI project director Mohammad Saifullah said the repairs would de done only after the monsoon.

“We are not being able to repair the stretch because of rain. Widening of the NH 34 has also stalled because we are not getting land. But, we are trying our best,” he said.